JED - September 2011 - (Page 26)

wa s h ing to n r e p or t DOD DISCUSSES AIRBORNE ELECTRONIC ATTACK ON CAPITOL HILL “System-of-systems” was the common theme at the recent “Capitol Hill Electronic Attack Conference” hosted by the Lexington Institute (Arlington, VA). Amidst the backdrop of debt-ceiling discussion in late July, speakers from all of the Services stressed the critical role of EW to an audience of nearly 200 that comprised mainly congressional staffers and EW industry members. As noted by US Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA), HASC member and Co-chairman of the EW Working Group, “Today, it is especially important that people in Washington DC understand the importance of EW and controlling the electromagnetic spectrum.” Referencing the shortage of top-level EW leadership in the services and the resulting recommendations of the EW Working Group, Larson stated that, “As a minimum, we’d like to see each service with a general or flag officer position for EW, and the DOD should create a position within the office of Acquisition Technology and Logistics to ensure adequate attention is given to EW.” Another HASC member, US Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA), echoed this sentiment, noting that while “everyone is asking how much can we afford to spend, the other equally important question is, what happens if we don’t? We need to be sure that the leadership is fully-aware of the risk we will be taking. We can’t afford to be on the backside of the technology curve.” Speaking about the Army’s direct experience on this subject, MAJ Rick Savageau, of the US Army Headquarters EW Division, said, “Lost lives and limbs were the price we paid for the Army taking the risk of not keeping up.” (See related article in this month’s Monitor on the Army’s development work on the Integrated EW System, IEWS.) Each of the services was represented at the conference, and all re-enforced the message that the only timely and cost-effective means of meeting current and future EW requirements will be through comprehensive networking of distributed resources – a system of systems. Representing the AF EW perspective, Col Joe Skaja, Director of the recently renamed Combat Enabler Division at Air Combat Command (ACC), pointed out that “the current acquisition process is too slow, too cumbersome, and too expensive for EW system procurement. Digitizing and modernizing our legacy systems is the first step, but ultimately the key is to provide an integrated capability of many pieces of equipment over common data links.” LtCol Jason Schuette, USMC EA-6B/Airborne Electronic Attack Requirements Officer, says the electromagnetic spectrum must be viewed as a maneuver space, including friendly communications, position location and navigation, and airborne and ground radars. “The networks that support all this must fuse all this capability and present a full situational awareness picture to, and accessible by, individual soldiers on the battlefield.” The Marine Corps’ ultimate goal is that these same soldiers will be able to independently control and bring to bear assets like the USMC “Intrepid Tiger II” communications jamming pod, a completely COTS, open-architecture system costing less than $600K, and expected to be fielded on Marine Corps Harrier jets this fall. For the Navy, RADM David Woods, Director, Strategy and Policy Division at OPNAV, reinforced this view. “Sea, air and land are accepted domains, and cyber and space are getting there also, but whether you want to call the EM spectrum a domain or not, it is absolutely the connective tissue binding all of the other domains. If you remain able to counter threats across that spectrum, then you remain relevant and prove the value of the investment.” CAPT John Thompson, USN, EA-6B/EA-18G Requirements Officer (N99) for OPNAV directed attention to the successful deployment of the EA-18G Growler and the ICAP-III system, noting the cooperative electronic attack capabilities of the system. “With Link 16 and the J-14 ‘EW channel,’ we can share and integrate threat information from multiple sources, squeezing down areas of uncertainty, and giving us much more flexibility as to what to do about it, if anything.” The Navy is already looking at more capable data link technology with the Tactical Targeting Network Technology (TTNT). Says Thompson, “TTNT is where we are investing. An IP-based network allows information to be moved at much higher speed and link up a broader range of assets.” The US Navy’s Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) will be a key element of the future airborne electronic attack system-of-systems. In fact, Richard Gilpin, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Air Programs, described the NGJ “as clearly the most important element of the system-of-systems approach, and an investment we must make.” – J. Haystead a 26 The Journal of Electronic Defense | September 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - September 2011

The View From Here
Conferences Calendar
Courses Calendar
From the President
The Monitor
Washington Report
World Report
Detecting and Defeating IEDs
Developing Critical EW Technologies: Digital Devices Move Into the Analog Space
New Products
EW 101
AOC News
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look

JED - September 2011